In recent years the logistics and transport industry has begun to make strides in diversity and inclusion and in particular attracting more women to the sector. This has been especially important during times of growing skills shortages and lack of HGV drivers. However, research suggests only 20% of the sector workforce is female and according to Logistics UK, still only 1.2% of all UK drivers are women, which is one of the largest gender imbalances in UK business.
Here at NX we are bucking this trend with almost a third of our employees being female and as part of our new intake of drivers, we are excited to welcome our first female driver to the team!
Meet Kayla: Flying the Flag for Female Drivers
We caught up with Kayla, one of our new team of HGV drivers that joined NX this January, and asked her a few questions about her work.
Welcome to the NX team Kayla – how long have you been a lorry driver? And what types of lorries can you drive?
I been driving lorries for almost nine years, having passed my HGV Class 2 in 2015. I can drive both Class 1 and 2 lorries, and passed my Class 1 last year (in 2023).
How did you get into the HGV profession?
As with many young people I imagine, I was unsure what I wanted to do growing up. After school, I studied a joint honours course in Sports Studies and Criminology at college and then university, because I still really couldn’t decide. However, while I was at university I joined the Army Reserves and absolutely loved it, so it helped me make a decision and I transferred to the regular Army.
I got my Class 2 licence in the Army as an RLC Driver but unfortunately was medically discharged before my military career could take off. However when I left the Army, lorry driving was an easy profession to get into and I was keen to continue my driving career.
I began my HGV career by driving a skip lorry. Since then I have driven RELs, concrete mixers and a mixture of curtain, box and refrigerated lorries – both rigids and artics – giving me a great experience of many different types of vehicles and driving purposes.
How do you juggle lorry driving and family life?
I took a few years out of lorry driving when I had my child and worked as a Civil Servant for the MOD. However, now my child is older I have been back in the industry for just over a year and I love it.
What do you like about being a lorry driver?
I love the independence of being out on the road every day and seeing new sights. All I need is a good heater and radio in the truck and I’m a happy driver! Here at NX, I have the same truck every day which is definitely an added bonus too.
Do you face any challenges as a female lorry driver?
Over the past year I have worked for many transport companies, trying to find the right one to suit me and my family. Amazing, only once in my career have I been offered uniform in women’s sizes – that is here at NX. Some sites I have been based at didn’t even have women’s toilets which can be a bit awkward.
Are there any advantages of being a female lorry driver?
Some advantages of being a woman in the industry are that there will always be a man close by on site who will offer to help if you are struggling with something – or even you aren’t struggling they still love to offer to help!
Recently I was driving to a school delivery in a small housing estate, I came to a road closure and the workers opened the road for me to pass. My male co-driver suggested that would never have happened to him and he would be made to reverse back out on the street.
Why do you think there are not many female drivers in the industry?
I think because the industry is still very male dominated it can be quite daunting for females to get involved. Also, some of the work can be quite dirty and heavy which I think could put some people off. But there are so many different types of driving roles and sectors that it’s really about finding the right type of transport job in the industry for you.
What would you say to encourage more women into the HGV driving profession?
If you enjoy driving then it’s definitely something to look into doing, the work doesn’t have to be heavy or dirty if that’s what you prefer, you just have to look around to find the right role for you.
There is no denying that the hours can be long but it is also a very rewarding job. The logistics industry definitely needs more women involved – not only because I think the planning would go a lot smoother in some companies from my experience!
Finally, what do you do to relax when you’re not driving your lorry around the country?
Most of my free time is spent with my 5 year old. We’re usually either going out for woodsy walks, riding our bikes or playing football. We also love to go to Villa Park together when we get the chance.
Thanks to Kayla for an insightful chat about her career as an HGV driver and why more women should consider a career in the logistics and transport industry.
Women in Transport
At NX we are committed to raising the profile of the industry for women, with a view to attracting prospective employees who may previously not have considered logistics or transport as a potential career path. If you think you’d be interested in working with us then check out our Vacancies page or get in touch with our HR team email@example.com
We specialise in providing a bespoke distribution service of tracked, secure and timed deliveries throughout the UK. Delivered precisely and with the utmost care, our team take pride in everything we deliver on our customers behalf.